Monday, December 15, 2008

Innsbruck to host 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games

Innsbruck will host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012. The result was unveiled last Friday by IOC President Jacques Rogge at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. Innsbruck (Austria) beat Kuopio (Finland) in the final by 84 votes to 15. Following the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Innsbruck will be responsible for staging the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games, with approximately 1,000 athletes, aged 14 to 18.
As a next step, a Coordination Commission will be designated by the IOC President to accompany Innsbruck throughout the three years of preparation. "We are fully aware that this is a very short period, but we are extremely confident that Innsbruck can match the expectations of both the IOC and the athletes, including an attractive Culture and Education Programme, which is an integral part of the Youth Olympic Games experience", underlined Jacques Rogge.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will be a 10-day multi-sport, cultural and educational event. The age groups participating in a sport or discipline will vary between 14 and 18 years. The programme of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will be established on the basis of the seven sports included in the Vancouver 2010 programme (Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating and Skiing). The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will highlight the different sports and provide an efficient platform to motivate young people to “get active” and adhere to the Olympic spirit. Each edition of the YOG will leave a consistent legacy for the young people of the host country, and the host city will have also a great opportunity to present itself to the world during the Games as the Olympic Youth Capital, therefore shaping its image as a youth-friendly city that offers a multitude of attractive places and events. "By creating the Youth Olympic Games on 5 July 2007, the IOC played its role as a catalyst for the sports movement. It showed that its commitment to the youth of today and tomorrow is about action, not just words, by offering them an event of their own in the spirit of the Olympic Games" (Jacques Rogge, IOC President).